Now that the air is crisp, the extracurricular schedules are ramped up and the homework load is being tackled...achieving school success has become the priority for all parents.
Just weeks ago, as my oldest daughter was getting ready to begin Kindergarten, I found myself pondering her school readiness. What makes a child ready for the social and academic pressures of school? How do I create routines to help prepare her not only this year, her first year of organized schooling, but every year?
I Googled the topic, collected newspaper articles, and searched mommy blogs on the net looking for clues. There was a common theme that ran through them all. I finally came across a very interesting article that clearly summarized and listed the six key ingredients for school readiness. No small surprise…all six of these magical key ingredients for school success are intentionally major parts of the Summer Trails summer experience.
Confidence- the feeling of being self assured and ready to confront challenges. We do this through programming activities that allow children to identify and achieve a variety of benchmarks. At the climbing wall some campers are working on putting on a harness the proper way, climbing to the top for the first time, or mastering the wall blindfolded. Meeting each new challenge builds self-confidence and focuses on little successes.
Curiosity- the desire to learn. We intentionally incorporate interactive learning. At nature we utilize our pond which is full of wildlife to experience in a hands on way our natural environment. We hunt for turtles and have the opportunity to feel the shell, feed them, watch them swim, and learn about their habitats.
Self-Control- the ability to recognize and regulate emotions. Organized team sports are filled with the emotional rollercoaster of being on the winning team, and yes just as important, sometimes the loosing team. Our Coaches work with campers to help them discover the appropriate way to process and share feelings after experiencing a World Series win or loss.
Relationship Building- feeling connected to other people. Summer Trails is an accepting community where children know they have made friends and are a vital part of the social fabric. They leave having truly experienced what it means to belong and be part of a group.
Communication- the ability to receive and share ideas. In everything we do, we stress that each camper’s opinion is valuable and important. Choosing a Banner Day theme is an opportunity for all campers to practice listening to each other’s ideas as well as promoting their own. And it is great when we get to point out that the final selection is a compilation of many ideas.
Cooperation- the ability to get along with others. Just like every classroom, every group is made up of varying personalities. Project Adventure is designed to teach teamwork through setting a goal that the group works together to reach as a unit.
Under the disguise of FUN, camp provides children with the skills needed for a successful school year. Recently, the American Camping Association collected research that demonstrates that children who attend summer camp have a dramatic decrease in summer learning loss.
I am very proud that the intentional and constant development of confidence, curiosity, self-control, relationship building, communication and cooperation, are main component of our Summer Trails program.